Inspired by Memoirs

The word memoir, used to sound like the most boring thing ever when I was younger. I stayed away from those types of stories. But within the last year I’ve read more of them and it has grown into one of my favorite type of narratives. I think there’s something so inspirational about reading someone’s story (dead or alive) and learning how they navigated life. Life is full of ups and downs and we don’t have an instruction manual for it. Sometimes we all get confused about our place in it or if we will ever achieve our goals, but when you read how others navigated their lives and see that their situations were no different from yours it gives you a sense of hope and sometimes may even inspire you to take risks and go after dreams. I am one of those people who google the age of celebrities that I admire to compare where they were at my age. I know this is an odd thing to do, but I do it, to make sure I am on the right track. Most times I realize that I am, but there’s always that extraordinary person who’s killing it in their teens or twenties. For me, some of the key elements of really good memoirs are:

  1. Transparency: I love memoirs where the author is transparent about their life and their mistakes. No one wants to read a memoir that they can’t relate to.
  1. Started from the bottom: I love memoirs that take you on the journey of life staring from the beginning. Society and social media tend to show you what success looks like without showing what it took to get there. I like when authors take you on the journey from the bottom up and not just the “up”.
  1. Evolution or Growth: As humans we are constantly evolving and growing. I love memoirs that shows a person’s growth. If you are the same way at the beginning of the story that you were at the end, something is wrong. Life should always push you to be better, greater, stronger. We are constantly learning and evolving and I love memoirs that illustrate that.

Some of the memoirs that I read recently have all three of these characteristics:

Autobiography of Malcom X by Malcom X

Assata An Autobiography by Assata Shakur 

Redefining Realness by Janet Mock 

The Education of Kevin Powell by Kevin Powell

My Voice by Angie Martinez 

A memoir that I am looking forward to reading this year is: Foxy: My Life in Three Acts by Pam Grier. I absolutely love her and I know she has a powerful life story.

What are your favorite memoirs?